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During your bachelor’s programme

The best time to go abroad is during the elective credits phase of your bachelor’s programme. You are then relatively unrestricted in the courses you can follow. If you obtain advance approval from your Board of Examiners, the credits you earn abroad can generally be counted towards your studies in Leiden.

During your master’s programme

You can also go abroad during your master’s programme, for example to do a research internship or project. If you are doing a two-year master, you should certainly have sufficient time to do so. During a one-year master, it may be a little more difficult.  

Start early

Going abroad during your master’s programme can be tricky for a number of reasons: not all host universities accept master students and some have strict admission criteria. The application procedure can also be very time consuming. Make sure to start gathering information as early as possible and discuss your plans with your international exchange coordinator well before the application deadline.

Second semester as plan B

Are you planning on going abroad in the first semester? It’s a good idea to also check whether going abroad in the second semester might be an option. If you don’t get a place at your preferred university in the first semester, your international exchange coordinator may, in some cases, immediately offer you a place for the second semester. Mention in your application that this would be an option for you. Discuss it in advance with your study adviser.

Consult your study programme

Are you unsure when would be the best time for you to study abroad? Discuss it with your study adviser. If you do know when you want to go, you still need to reach agreement with your study programme about how to incorporate a period of study abroad into your programme. You are not permitted to go on exchange without your programme’s approval, so it’s important to discuss your plans well in advance with your study adviser.

Photo: Andrea De Remes


It is possible to go on an exchange, even as a master’s student, but the options for studying abroad during your master’s are limited.

Extra-curricular courses
The courses you take abroad will always be extra-curricular. It is not possible to take your elective credits abroad. If you want to study at an university abroad for a semester as an exchange student, you must allow for an extra semester on your master’s programme.

Thesis or internship
It is also possible to do your compulsory internship or thesis abroad. This is not arranged through an exchange agreement. You can find more information under 'Internship, research and fieldwork'. 

During your master’s
The best time to go abroad differs depending on your master’s specialisation. Due to the long preparation time, we recommend you discuss your study plan with your study adviser as early as possible.

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